Democrat Elected Despite Criminal History

In the Orange County swing seat vacated by Rep. Katie Porter (D.), Democrat Dave Min—a state senator from California—managed to win his party’s nomination despite being jailed for driving under the influence in a taxpayer-funded car at almost twice the legal limit last year.

When fellow Democrat Joanna Weiss conceded defeat on Wednesday night, Min, who was selected by Porter to succeed her when she decided to run for Senate, was leading by almost seven points. His arrest for driving under the influence was in May of 2023.

Min lied to the police about how much alcohol he had consumed, according to the bodycam of his arrest. Despite the crime and embarrassment, he continued to get support from powerful groups such as the National Education Association, the California Teachers Association, the California AFL-CIO, the Los Angeles Times, and the California Democratic Party.

The Democratic establishment may have achieved victory with Min’s primary victory, but they may have jeopardized their hold on a purple seat. Scott Baugh, a Republican, will challenge Min in November.

At that point, Kate Porter had already made a name for herself as an outspoken liberal in Congress, yet Baugh only lost in 2022 by a little over 8,200 votes despite being overspent by $24 million.

According to Min, this triumph is about more than just being nominated; it’s about firmly opposing Scott Baugh and his divisive and Trump-supporting MAGA policies.

Recent surveys put Baugh ahead of Min. When WPA Intelligence polled the two candidates in February, Baugh had a five-point advantage against Min.

Former California congressman Harley Rouda urged Min to step out after his DUI arrest, having previously withdrawn from the campaign owing to a brain injury. Rouda said Democrats would be betraying their principles if they kept backing Min.

In the past, the 47th District had a reputation for being heavily Republican and having ties to Reagan, the last Republican president. A more diverse and Democratic-leaning area has emerged over time, mirroring the state of California overall.

The 47th district has the best chance for Republicans to gain seats in the House, says North Carolina Representative Richard Hudson.

The general election matchup between Min and Baugh is as intriguing as California elections get. The Democrats are defending a seat considered a toss-up in solid blue California, which makes this race unusual.